US Treasury Secretary Hints at More Sanctions for Turkey

17 August, 2018, 17:59 | Author: Corey Lynch
  • Turkey denies American pastor’s appeal, decides to hit the US with tariffs instead

On Aug. 1 relations between Ankara and Washington nosedived when the US imposed sanctions on two Turkish Cabinet ministers after Turkey refused to release an American pastor who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey.

"We have put sanctions on several of their cabinet members", said Mnuchin.

Many countries had been the target of similar US trade measures, Albayrak said, and Turkey would navigate this period with other parties such as Germany, Russia and China.

Last Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he had authorised higher tariffs on aluminium and steel imports from Turkey.

In a tweet later on Thursday, Trump said the United States "will pay nothing" for Brunson's release, "but we are cutting back on Turkey!" Turkish authorities arrested him in 2016 and charged him with being involved in a failed coup that same year against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and with colluding with Kurdish militants.

The lira hit a record low of 7.24 to the dollar earlier this week, down 40 percent this year, as investors fretted over Erdogan's influence over monetary policy and the row with the United States.

The Australian dollar strengthened against the U.S. dollar on Thursday as the crisis engulfing Turkey's lira calmed for a moment, although sentiment remained negative.

In an interview Wednesday with Anadolu Agency, Qatar's Ambassador to Turkey Salem bin Mubarak Al-Shafi said: "The state of Qatar is always proactive in supporting its Turkish brothers".




Mr Trump said: "They want to hold our wonderful pastor. Not fair, not right".

Last week, Trump tweeted that his administration was doubling aluminum and steel tariffs for Turkey, and in response Ankara sharply hiked tariffs on some U.S. products.

It gained some support from the announcement late on Wednesday of a Qatari pledge to invest $15 billion in Turkey. "I'm not going to get ahead of anything on what we may or may not do in an effort to respond.". Gulen has denied the charges, and the USA has rejected every request to force him from his compound in Pennsylvania to stand trial in Turkey.

Turkey says the case is a matter for the courts.

The two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are at an impasse regarding the detention of an American pastor, differing views on Syria, and Turkey's purchase of Russian military equipment.

As NPR explained in a primer on the dispute, much of the ill will shared by Turkey and the US stems not only from the back-and-forth on tariffs, but also from a diplomatic dust-up centered on two men of faith.

Mr Trump's comments came as Turkey's finance minister Berat Albayrak attempted to reassure 6,000 worldwide investors and economists on a video link that the country would emerge stronger from the crisis.

Inflation in the state is at a 14-year high in Turkey, at close to 16%, but the country's central bank - which is under the control of Erdogan - refuses to raise interest rates, a simple mechanism for bringing down rampant inflation.

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